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Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the best selling female lead game of all time. Will at least this convince more publishers to do the right thing?

Oct 28, 2017
69
The suit would be looking at the RE series and series comparable to it (like Dino Crisis). Revelations sold 1.9 million across 4 different platforms. Most RE spinoffs were only on one platform, didn't feature mainline protagonists (like Jill and Claire) and were outsourced to cheap third-party developers. The top-selling RE games feature male and female protagonists, except RE7 and RE4 which were exclusively male.

RE's commercial history suggests that having both male and female protagonists is more likely to be successful than having an exclusively female protagonist.

Pretend you're a Capcom exec and you're attending a greenlight meeting for a new RE game. The game being proposed has an exclusively female protagonist and is asking for a $60 million development budget. You look at the sales history for each RE game. You see that the best-selling RE games featured both male & female protagonists or exclusively male protagonists. Are you more or less likely to greenlight this game?
The top 2 best selling GTA games of all time had exclusively black protagonists or both black and white protagonists. I'm sure the suits will look at this data to greenlight the next GTA.
/s
You can slice the info in many ways to make a point. I think game devs with a good track record in terms of sales usually let the creatives drive these decisions and the suits stick to paying the bills
 
Mar 14, 2018
1,215
If the main competitor of becoming the best selling female lead game is TR 2013, Horizon will win. It's way above 10 M now, so i expect at least 15 M LT.
 

Valdega

Banned
Member
Sep 7, 2018
1,609
What evidence? The two sites you listed say hardcore gamers don't think the gender is extremely important not saying they won't buy the game.

Tomb Raider and Horizon say those games could reach over 10 mill. In HZD case, it was a new ip with no established fanbase.

There are already rumors about RE3 being remade, so I don't have to imagine being a Capcom executive becuae they have no problem in greenlitting a female only RE game.
As I've mentioned numerous times already, the best-selling RE games featured mixed protagonists or exclusively male protagonists. Do you know why Revelations 1 & 2 were spinoffs and not mainline sequels? Because Capcom execs didn't believe that an RE game with an exclusively female protagonist would sell enough to warrant a AAA budget. That's why there hasn't been a mainline sequel with an exclusively female protagonist since RE3.

Rumors about an RE3 remake are just that: rumors. Given the fact that RE3 both sold and reviewed worse than RE2 and Capcom's commercial history of RE games with exclusively female protagonists, I'm pretty skeptical. It's far more likely that they're working on RE8 with either mixed or exclusively male protagonists.

If you want to talk about Tomb Raider, we can do that too. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was a commercial flop and very likely the last TR game we'll see for a long time. RotR sold worse than TR2013. There is a trend of TR games selling worse with each iteration (both from Core and Crystal Dynamics). Horizon was a success but it was also a first-party Playstation exclusive backed by Sony's marketing machine. It doesn't establish a trend of successful AAA games with female protagonists. It just establishes that AAA Playstation exclusives with lots of marketing tend to sell well.

The top 2 best selling GTA games of all time had exclusively black protagonists or both black and white protagonists. I'm sure the suits will look at this data to greenlight the next GTA.
/s
You can slice the info in many ways to make a point. I think game devs with a good track record in terms of sales usually let the creatives drive these decisions and the suits stick to paying the bills
GTA5 outsold San Andreas by a significant margin. I'm talking 4x the sales here. The suits will most definitely take that into consideration when greenlighting the next game.

And no, if you have a publisher who is funding the game, they have the final say on creative decisions. If they think a developer's decision is too risky, they won't allow it. The protagonist's gender is one such decision.
 
Nov 1, 2017
968
HZD: Diet Woke /s

Seriously though, the fact that the game was (still is, actually) absolutely stunning and has sublime combat probably played significant roles in the game's sales, too.
 

werezompire

Zeboyd Games
Verified
Oct 26, 2017
1,917
People always forget poor Carlos, a South American with indigenous origins.
I remembered Carlos, but the amount of time you play as Carlos in RE3 is very short.

Pretend you're a Capcom exec and you're attending a greenlight meeting for a new RE game. The game being proposed has an exclusively female protagonist and is asking for a $60 million development budget. You look at the sales history for each RE game. You see that the best-selling RE games featured both male & female protagonists or exclusively male protagonists. Are you more or less likely to greenlight this game?
RE3 & Code Veronica did sell less than other main Resident Evil games. One explanation could be female protagonists, although Code Veronica featured both Claire & Chris on the cover and you play as Chris for a good chunk of the game. A better explanation would be that there was only a 3 month gap between the two games and so they cannibalized each other's sales. I remember there was a lot of talk at the time about how the Resident Evil formula was tired which makes sense when you release 2 main entries in a series together at almost the exact same time. There was also the weird thing about how since they had different teams working on each game, RE3 felt more advanced than CV in some ways and vice versa.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,613
As I've mentioned numerous times already, the best-selling RE games featured mixed protagonists or exclusively male protagonists. Do you know why Revelations 1 & 2 were spinoffs and not mainline sequels? Because Capcom execs didn't believe that an RE game with an exclusively female protagonist would sell enough to warrant a AAA budget. That's why there hasn't been a mainline sequel with an exclusively female protagonist since RE3.

Rumors about an RE3 remake are just that: rumors. Given the fact that RE3 both sold and reviewed worse than RE2 and Capcom's commercial history of RE games with exclusively female protagonists, I'm pretty skeptical. It's far more likely that they're working on RE8 with either mixed or exclusively male protagonists.

If you want to talk about Tomb Raider, we can do that too. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was a commercial flop and very likely the last TR game we'll see for a long time. RotR sold worse than TR2013. There is a trend of TR games selling worse with each iteration (both from Core and Crystal Dynamics). Horizon was a success but it was also a first-party Playstation exclusive backed by Sony's marketing machine. It doesn't establish a trend of successful AAA games with female protagonists. It just establishes that AAA Playstation exclusives with lots of marketing tend to sell well.
Rev 2 was not exclusively female protag. They were spin offs because Capcom has made 10s of RE spinoffs since the PS1. They make these spinoffs to release games quickly, they made many spinoffs as male only or both genders, I guess they don't beleive in male or both genders games either.

Are you now saying a sequel of TR sold less related to protagonist gender? Like suddenly people realized they don't want to play as a woman anymore? Seriously...

Why wouldn't infamous, Bloodborne, Until Dawn, Killzone, and many more Sony first party titles this gen not reach 10 mil? almost like the type of game determine the success of the game and not just marketing or gender.
 
Oct 27, 2017
159
New England
I heard this game was good, but I was simply too busy playing Zelda: Breath of The Wild. As a heterosexual cis white male, I can simply appreciate Link’s journey through Hyrule more because I really relate to that video game character and he validated my sexuality, position in society and social class. Also I like Nintendo games better.
 
Jan 31, 2019
50
That's because they undermined player choice. Don't conflate the issues here.
True, but you responded to a comment that mentioned "how rare a straight female lead with a romantic partner is in the gaming landscape" by citing Odyssey - a game that delivers just that (even if by undermining the choices presented before - not ideal).

I remembered Carlos, but the amount of time you play as Carlos in RE3 is very short.
I know, he's basically the Sherry/Ada of RE3. It was just banter, even if people do often forget about him.

Related to the quote above: he was also sort of a love interest for Jill.

P.S.: Love your game!
 

Morrigan

Armoring
Moderator
Oct 24, 2017
8,989
True, but you responded to a comment that mentioned "how rare a straight female lead with a romantic partner is in the gaming landscape" by citing Odyssey - a game that delivers just that (even if by undermining the choices presented before - not ideal).
I cited it because it explicitly has 5 male leads compared to 10 female leads, which proves my point that even "progressive" game developers are somehow reluctant to write male characters as love interests...
 

Pyro

Member
Jul 30, 2018
1,935
United States
Yes and no. I think games like H:ZD and Tomb Raider prove female leads are just as good as male leads but I could see it taking 5 or so years because change comes painstakingly slow.
 

Valdega

Banned
Member
Sep 7, 2018
1,609
Rev 2 was not exclusively female protag. They were spin offs because Capcom has made 10s of RE spinoffs since the PS1. They make these spinoffs to release games quickly, they made many spinoffs as male only or both genders, I guess they don't beleive in male or both genders games either.

Are you now saying a sequel of TR sold less related to protagonist gender? Like suddenly people realized they don't want to play as a woman anymore? Seriously...

Why wouldn't infamous, Bloodborne, Until Dawn, Killzone, and many more Sony first party titles this gen not reach 10 mil? almost like the type of game determine the success of the game and not just marketing or gender.
Yes, there are RE spin-offs with mixed or male protagonists. Obviously because that's been proven to be the safest choice. The question isn't why a spin-off is being made. The question is why a mainline sequel featuring an exclusively female protagonist hasn't been made since RE3. The answer is that Capcom doesn't have faith in exclusively female protagonists. They tried it in the past and it didn't achieve the desired results.

As for TR, we're talking about trends. You cited the TR series as proof of a trend that female protagonists can be successful, yet the TR series has a history of declining popularity and the latest game in the series was a commercial failure. That's not a trend of success. For a publisher, it's the worst kind of trend. They expect sequels to sell better, not worse.

Finally, Horizon had a significantly larger budget than Infamous, Bloodborne, Until Dawn, Killzone and other less successful PS exclusives. A large part of that is likely because it's open-world games and open-world games generally sell better than non-open-world games. However, that's all a moot point because your task is to prove a trend of successful AAA games with exclusively female protagonists. You have yet to prove that trend. That's the trend that publishers care about and its absence is the reason why they're hesitant to make AAA games with female protagonists. That's not to say they never do it. They just do it far less often than the alternatives.
 
Oct 28, 2017
9,284
The TC acts like the Metroid, Tomb Raider and Resident Evil games have never existed.
To be fair, you rarely see Samus out of her suit or without her helmet, Lara Croft has historically been super sexualised (not necessarily in the newer titles), and which RE game had a female lead without a male option counterpart? That's not to say there aren't games with female leads, but I think HZD is arguably among the most prominent or best examples now.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,560
If the current best selling female lead game is Tomb Raider 2013 at 11 million, I am 100% positive Horizon Zero Dawn will eventually surpass it.

In any case both will be dethroned by TLOU2 which will set the record very high. I am expecting 20 million for that one.
20 million is a wild expectation to have. TLOU is huge but ultimately is still an exclusive.
 
Jul 18, 2018
689
As much as I like Aloy and the game itself, who said it wouldn't have been even more successful with a man lead ?

Anyway, I don't mind more diversity in gaming but it's not because a game which have a female lead perform well that it would be the case with another title.
 
Jan 30, 2018
5,145
Also,

Weren't the humans in Horizon created by a computer, so they're not even really the same kind of humans as us?
And wildlife and vegetation yeah.
True , according to rabid feminazi OP
Are you from YouTube comments?

Edit:

Overhyped . most undeserving game ever to sell that much . Just my opinion , ain't here to bait or start a war ...
Oh you’re this person, this explains a lot.
 
Last edited:
Oct 25, 2017
8,241
I was going to wait till tomorrow but what the hell. I always find it interesting whenever the topic of "cultural appropriation" is brought up. Being a non-white person, I have asked on this board before, where do people go to ascertain what is cultural appropriation and what is not? Last I checked, there is not an unified body that determines this. Heck, if a non south asian friend of mine decided in dress in traditional south asian attire for a special occasion and I was fine with it and someone else was not, who would be right? Worse still if a rando took a snapshot of him/her and posted it to twitter to generate outrage, they could so easily do it.

Anyway, the consensus here was that as long as the representation is done with respect and in no shape or form done to denigrate the said culture, it ought to be okay. As far as I can see given the game uses various ancient garbs from different cultures as baseline and builds on top with in-game items to create bespoke and unique designs with a touch of familiarity to real world. In any event, I have never felt the game maligns or perverts the cultural designs it takes inspirations from, at all.
Let me make this simple: As long as you're giving back to the culture where the specific thing originated at it is not cultural appropriation.
 
Jan 7, 2018
248
10M -> one of the best selling female lead game of all time.
Will at least this convince more publishers to do the right thing?
I am assuming, that the right thing is to make more games with female leads. But were is the logic in this question? If this was the worst selling female lead game at 10M, than this question would make sense. Right now it seems, that plenty of games with male leads are achieving (and surpassing) what is considered to be outstanding achievement for a game with a female lead.
I mean, yes, HZD performed great and, yes, publishers should make more good games with female leads. But way to mess up with phrasing, OP. Worst possible angle you could look at this situation.
 
Oct 25, 2017
9,084
Tlou 2 will lead the industry but I would prefer games with gender option and customization
TLoU would be a lesser game if you could choose your gender and customize your character. Not every game needs or should be like that. Sometimes a carefully constructed game story is all we need.
 
White female appropriating native cultures contextualized differently for the sake of a video game at that

But I'm sleep
A diverse cast of characters portraying distinct fictional tribal cultures, inspired by some real world native cutures =/= what you said.

Personally, I think your hot take is bananas and entirely ignores the context of the game in order to make some contrived point about social commentary.

Can't we just be happy for a small win for diversity and representation in gaming, even if its small?
 
Oct 28, 2017
4,155
2001
User Banned (1 Week): Inappropriate commentary and sexist objectification
As long as they make them as sexy as Ada in RE2, I’ll definitely take more female leads in games if it means I can play as a hot chick.

Ada is so yummy.
 
Nov 3, 2017
2,751
RE3 & Code Veronica did sell less than other main Resident Evil games.
How do people even come to the conclusion this was because of the female lead? I mean both games are straight up inferior to series highlights like RE 2 or 4 and while RE 3 launched at the very end of the PSX lifecycle with some franchise fatigue kicking in (same could be said about CV btw.) Code Veronica was a fucking Dreamcast exclusive at launch.
 
Oct 29, 2017
1,945
Germany
Its more that they wrote her as an actual character with wants and flaws. Aloy was great because she was allowed to eat shit a bit and her brash personality got her in trouble but they never under wrote her. Also she allowed her to be surrounded by decent characters and have some of most real flirty dialogue between men and women in awhile. Every dude with a crush on her didn't come at her the same way and they each got different reactions from her in a nice way.
This. I also liked how she and Sylens were trading blows in their conversations. Sylens was well-written, too.
 
Oct 27, 2017
948
Games sell well because they're good, not because of the gender of their leads.
Sure, it can be a factor, but it doesn't make or break a game.

Come to think of it, are there any excellent, poorly selling games with female leads?
I guess maybe Beyond Good & Evil?
 
Nov 2, 2017
694
Nottingham, UK
I think the right thing is to make interesting and compelling characters regardless of sex. I don't think you should develop any kind of character with the mindset of appeasing a particular crowd, you should do it because you want to and because you've got a great idea.

What I think characters like Lara, Aloy, Senua and although she isn't the lead character Sadie Adler, have added to the industry is ideas. They would've inspired the minds of the writers to create some wonderful females and we'll gradually see more and more representation because the writer wants to, not because they're politically pressured to.
 

NHarmonic.

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
3,316
Happy for Aloy and HZD, but not sure this is correct information. Tomb Raider long proved that female leads sell. Technically so did RE, Claire and Jill are incredibly popular.
RE3 didn’t blow up in sales, neither Code Veronica. The rest of the games have mixed men and women casts so yeah...
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,387
imo H:ZD is one of the rare games that was commercially helped by not having a broad "joe videogames" male lead. it was a unique world and setting and the protag complemented it, you knew you weren't in for a standard far cry-ish/post apocalyptic experience which has no shortage of real estate this gen

i mean chalk it up as a win for diversity and good on GG for not coasting on focus group peace of mind but main takeaway from the game's success should be run with your original vision from the outset
 
Oct 27, 2017
12,789
The whole "female protagonist" games not selling is nonesense a particular group of people keep spewing. That has never been true Nd as long the game is a good game it will sell.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,146
The whole "female protagonist" games not selling is nonesense a particular group of people keep spewing. That has never been true Nd as long the game is a good game it will sell.
I tend to agree with this as well. Another slightly different example would be with Ubisoft. Arguably their biggest franchise and one of the most beloved worldwide was founded with an Arab character named Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. That didn't do shit to stop the franchise from being a juggernaut. As you said, good games and those that show promise will sell.
 
Nov 10, 2017
2,889
Only that it sold well because it was an awesome game regardless of protagonist gender. I hope it convinces more people to make awesome games
 
Oct 27, 2017
12,789
I tend to agree with this as well. Another slightly different example would be with Ubisoft. Arguably their biggest franchise and one of the most beloved worldwide was founded with an Arab character named Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. That didn't do shit to stop the franchise from being a juggernaut. As you said, good games and those that show promise will sell.
Agreed.

Altair is is still one of the most loved character in the franchise to this day. And while you mention Ubisoft, I feel they are the ones leading the progressive movement in gaming.

All their games are very diverse. Watch Dogs 2 in particular was really cool in that department.
 

TheZodiacAge

Banned
Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,068
Has nothing to do with the female lead

The game sold that well as a new IP because it is an incredible good game that is more than solid in all its points.
It had really good marketing and hype behind it too because Sony knows how to do these things.

GG and Sony brought a really good game to the table.
Thats it.
If Publishers have to learn something then its that good games with good marketing will sell well.
This is something fairly common for their games these days =)